DEA: Fake pills containing fentanyl helping drive OD deaths
Federal officials say an increasing number of fake prescription pills containing potentially deadly fentanyl are helping drive overdose death rates to record levels in the U.S. And officials warn that some of the pills are being manufactured in rainbow colors designed to look like candy.
20 pounds of fentanyl pills seized in massive California drug bust
On the heels of a nationwide warning from the Drug Enforcement Administration about fentanyl-related mass-overdose deaths, News4JAX has learend that police in Southern California seized more than 20 pounds of the drug during a bust in Santa Ana.
How a previous “48 Hours” story could help prosecutors in a recent murder case
We’re learning how a murder shown in a “48 Hours” episode from 2015 could help police in the death of Amie Harwick, a therapist who at one time was engaged to Drew Carey, host of “The Price Is Right” on CBS. Vlad Duthiers spoke with “48 Hours” correspondent Erin Moriarty about this development.news.yahoo.com
Two powerful drugs now adding to US overdose crisis
Emerging reports show that two little-known drugs are making lethal new contributions to America's drug overdose crisis. Para-fluorofentanyl and metonitazene are being seen more often by medical examiners looking into overdose deaths, according to a government report published Thursday. Increasingly, one or the other of the two drugs is the sole reason for some overdose deaths, said Dr. Darinka Mileusnic-Polchan, one of the report authors.news.yahoo.com
🚀💣💥Decoding emojis dealers are using to sell drugs to young people
Since the "One Pill Can Kill" campaign began, federal agents who gather intel on drug distribution have been working behind the scenes to decode emojis found in both social media and text communications between drug dealers and young people.
Former DEA Special Agent Sentenced to Prison for Money Laundering and Fraud Scheme
A former Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) special agent was sentenced today to 145 months, or more than 12 years, in prison for operating a money laundering and fraud scheme while serving as a special agent with the DEA. According to the indictment and his plea agreement, the scheme began shortly after Irizarry filed for personal bankruptcy protection in 2010. Irizarry used his position as a special agent to divert approximately $9 million from undercover DEA money laundering investigations to himself and to co-conspirators. The scheme lasted throughout Irizarry’s assignments to the DEA’s Miami Field Division and to its office in Cartagena, Colombia. “Bringing him to justice reflects the principles of those who faithfully serve and uphold the values of DEA.justice.gov
Tennessee Physician Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Hydrocodone Distribution Resulting in Death
A Tennessee physician was sentenced today in the Western District of Tennessee to 20 years in prison for his unlawful prescribing of opioids that caused the death of one of his patients. Ballard’s unlawful prescribing to one patient led to her death. On June 23, 2021, Ballard pleaded guilty to one count of illegal drug distribution resulting in death. “Today’s sentence reflects the gravity of physicians causing death by illegally prescribing opioids,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. The ARPO Strike Force is part of the Health Care Fraud Strike Force Program, which since March 2007 has charged more than 4,200 defendants who collectively have billed the Medicare program for more than $19 billion.justice.gov
DEA agent, gunman killed in Amtrak train shooting in Arizona
A Drug Enforcement Administration special agent was killed Monday when a passenger, who also died, opened fire as officers were doing a routine inspection for illegal contraband on an Amtrak train in Tucson, Arizona, authorities said. A second agent and a Tucson police officer were wounded. “It’s very horrific and we’re all just coming to terms with just how terrible a loss this is,” Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus said.news.yahoo.com
Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco Delivers Remarks Announcing Drug Enforcement and Awareness Raising Campaign
And that means we have an obligation to make Americans aware of the deadly threat from counterfeit pills - counterfeit pills containing deadly doses of illicit fentanyl. We also need the public to understand the dangers posed by counterfeit pills. Now in recent years, we have seen an alarming increase in the number of counterfeit pills containing illicit fentanyl. And when we say “counterfeit pills,” I want to be very clear, we mean pills that are fashioned to look like legitimate pills that might be prescribed by your doctor. More than 9.5 million counterfeit pills were seized so far this year – that’s more than the last two years combined.justice.gov
Why Does The DEA Wait Until Today To Issue A Public Warning About Counterfeit Prescription Pain Pills?
Today the Drug Enforcement Administration released a Public Safety Alert warning the public about “the alarming increase in the lethality and availability of fake prescription pills containing fentanyl and methamphetamine.”news.yahoo.com
Justice Department Files Suit to Stop Utah Physician from Issuing Opioid and Other Prescriptions in Violation of the Controlled Substances Act
A federal judge entered a preliminary injunction today barring a Utah physician from issuing prescriptions for controlled substances during the pendency of a civil enforcement action filed by the government. In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, the government alleges that Dr. Sean Ponce, a medical doctor licensed in Utah, unlawfully issued controlled substance prescriptions in violation of the Controlled Substances Act. The complaint alleges that Dr. Ponce catered to customer requests for opioid and other controlled substance prescriptions, at times using text messages to arrange the exchange of cash for prescriptions. U.S. District Judge David B. Barlow entered a stipulated preliminary injunction that the United States filed along with the complaint. “The opioid addiction epidemic devastates communities,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.justice.gov
Former DEA Special Agent Sentenced to Over 13 Years in Prison for Corruption-Related Charges
A former Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent was sentenced today to 160 months in prison for nine crimes related to official misconduct, including perjury, obstruction of justice, and theft. “This goes against everything that the Drug Enforcement Administration stands for. Now, he will rightly serve time for his many crimes.”This case was initially investigated by the Louisiana State Police and later by the FBI, DEA Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), and DOJ-OIG. Assistant Deputy Chief Timothy A. Duree of the Justice Department’s Fraud Section and Trial Attorney Charles A. Miracle of the Justice Department’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section prosecuted the case.justice.gov
Leader of Transnational Money-Laundering Network Pleads Guilty to Aiding Drug-Trafficking Organizations, While Co-Conspirator is Sentenced
The defendant dealt directly with members of drug-trafficking organizations or their representatives to obtain and service “contracts” to move their drug proceeds. “Global money-laundering networks enable drug cartels to profit from their deadly trade, and yesterday’s guilty plea and today’s sentence underscore the Justice Department’s commitment to dismantling the financial infrastructure of transnational criminal organizations to take the profit out of crime. Liu pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy and a separate bribery charge on April 14 and was sentenced today to seven years in prison. Additionally, on June 16, Eric Yong Woo, 43, of Alhambra, California, also pleaded guilty to his role in the money-laundering conspiracy. This prosecution is part of two Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigations.justice.gov
Off-duty DEA agent arrested on Capitol riot charges
An off-duty Drug Enforcement Administration agent posed for photographs in which he flashed his DEA badge and firearm outside the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot, according to a court filing Tuesday following the agent's arrest. A video posted on the internet also showed Mark Sami Ibrahim carrying a flag bearing the words “Liberty or Death” outside the Capitol, about 12 minutes before a mob of people pulled apart a nearby set of barricades, authorities said. Ibrahim, 32, of Orange County, California, was a probationary employee of the DEA and was on personal leave from the agency when he traveled to Washington on Jan. 6.news.yahoo.com
DEA using science to fight war on drugs
When people think of the Drug Enforcement Administration, they may envision undercover federal agents infiltrating major drug operations. They may also conjure up mental images of heavily armed federal law enforcement officers raiding a drug house in the United States or arresting a drug warlord abroad. But most people may not realize that behind the scenes, there is a scientific component of the DEA that is also on the frontlines when it comes to the war on drugs.
Operation Engage aims to prevent opioid overdoses
The Drug Enforcement Administration has now launched Operation Engage. DEA’s Miami Field Division Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jonathon White says Operation Engage will focus on preventing opioid overdoses. “So, Operation Engage, the timing couldn’t be more critical.”DEA Special Agent Amy Roderick is currently coordinating Operation Engage. Operation Engage started in South Florida and will eventually make its way to the northeastern part of the state. And just days after the DEA rolled out Operation Engage, DEA Acting Administrator D. Christopher Evans on Tuesday announced the release of the 2020 National Drug Threat Assessment.
DEA: Beware of scammers impersonating agents
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Drug Enforcement Administration on Wednesday warned that scammers are pretending to be DEA agents in an attempt to steal money and personal information. The DEA released audio of a phone conversation between a scammer impersonating a DEA agent and a man. But the scammer learned during the call that an actual DEA agent was listening to the conversation. “Sir, this is the DEA,” a DEA special agent says. “They’re using trunk numbers or numbers disguised as other locations when they’re making these phone calls,” Dubet explained.
Mexican Navy helps DEA seize 2.5 tons of meth, 100,000 fentanyl pills
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Mexican Navy helped the Drug Enforcement Administration seize 2.5 tons of meth and 100,000 fentanyl pills that were on the way to the United States. “Let’s say if 10% of that went to Atlanta, which would be about 500 pounds, and then you take 1% of that shipment coming to Jacksonville, it’s 50 pounds of meth,” Dubet said. “Fifty pounds of meth to the Jacksonville area would supply not only Jacksonville but the surrounding counties for several weeks.”AdThat meth and fentanyl could lead to potentially fatal overdoses. “Whenever you have large amounts of money and people fighting for territory, that’s where the violence comes out,” Dubet said. If convicted, the two Mexican nationals face a mandatory minimum of 10 years in U.S. federal prison.
DEA’s winter campaign aims to prevent Rx drug overdoses
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – While the Drug Enforcement Administration continues to aggressively go after drug cartels that smuggle hardcore narcotics such as meth, cocaine, heroin and fentanyl into the US, the administration is also keeping its eye on an epidemic of prescription drug overdoses. According to the DEA, nearly 70% of drug overdose deaths in the US involve prescription medicine. Most of those overdoses were the result of a drug addict having easy access to medications that were not prescribed. Something like that so when you’re not home, those items would prevent burglars from taking these medications,” Dubet said. For more information about DEA drug disposal locations:Diversion Control DivisionFor more information about properly disposing medications:Environmental Protection Agency steps for disposing medicines
Councilwoman: Arlington community ‘outraged’ over crime
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – City Councilwoman Joyce Morgan held a community town hall Monday night to get the public’s input on violence in Arlington. Police said the man, whose family identified as Wilson, was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries. Arlington residents who logged on to the Zoom meeting spoke about the recent crime. “This community, as you know, Arlington, is really in mourning,” Morgan said. “One of the things that the entire Arlington community talks about is the lack of action," said Steve Murray, a resident.
Walmart sues US in pre-emptive strike in opioid abuse battle
NEW YORK – Walmart is suing the U.S. government in a pre-emptive strike in the battle over its responsibility in the opioid abuse crisis. Walmart says it is seeking a declaration from a federal judge that the government has no lawful basis for seeking civil damages from the company. The lawsuit names the Justice Department and Attorney General William Barr as defendants. Brown went into private practice in the Dallas areaA spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Texas that handled the investigation referred questions to the Justice Department in Washington. The Justice Department declined to comment.
DEA announces launch of initiative to reduce violent crime
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two weeks after Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Administrator Timothy Shea visited Florida and spent time talking with Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams about violent crime in the city, the DEA has announced the launch of Project Safeguard. It’s a violent crime reduction initiative that allows the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and federal marshals to partner with local police to go after violent offenders -- especially since the DEA says many of the violent crimes in Jacksonville are linked to illegal narcotics trafficking. Police in 41 cities throughout Florida are taking part in Project Safeguard. Only time will tell if the initiative reduces violent crime throughout the state. Project Safeguard is being deployed in other areas of the country such as Los Angeles, New York and Chicago.
AP Exclusive: 1,500 arrests in DEA violent crime initiative
WASHINGTON – More than 1,500 people have been arrested on state and federal criminal charges in the last three months as part of a Drug Enforcement Administration project focusing on violent crime, the agency’s acting administrator told The Associated Press. Such operations are common for the federal government, but the issue of law-and-order is a major component of President Donald Trump's reelection campaign. The DEA -- under the umbrella of the Department of Justice -- is responsible for investigating major drug cases and international drug smuggling, along with drug gangs who are often responsible for upticks in violence within communities. “By going after the violent crime, we’ve been able to investigate the larger regional groups,” Shea said. “Plus, we’re addressing the violent crime problem in these localities.”
DEA recruits cite 'monkey noises' among claims of racism
While at the Drug Enforcement Administrations Training Academy, Brown said he was once pepper-sprayed three times in a single training exercise while other trainees were sprayed once. When both responded, the white instructor clarified, “I meant the monkey.”That behavior, as alleged in an internal complaint, didn’t stop there. The instructor also was accused of going on the loudspeaker in the tower of the outdoor firing range to taunt black trainees by making “monkey noises.”“We were like, ‘It’s 2019. That shouldn’t even be a thing that we’re dealing with,’” said Derek Moise, who did not hear the noises himself but recalled the discomfort they caused his fellow Black trainees who did. The recruits who originally accused Mortenson are still employed by the DEA and not permitted to speak publicly about the incidents.
Jacksonville sheriff: Vest saves life of officer shot
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A police officer was shot Monday morning while assisting the Drug Enforcement Administration in serving a high-risk search warrant in a neighborhood off Moncrief Road, authorities said. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office SWAT team member was released from the hospital within hours and is recovering at home, Sheriff Mike Williams said. Williams said the veteran officer was hit several times, but the shots landed on his ballistics vest, and the officer managed to return fire. “When you ask for the SWAT team, you’re talking about a high-profile takedown," Jefferson said. The sheriff said SWAT officers spend 20-30% of their on-duty time training to prepare them for high-risk situations.
DEA warning about scammers impersonating agents
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. The Drug Enforcement Administration issued a warning Wednesday about scammers who are impersonating DEA agents to steal other peoples money and personal information. Mike Dubet, DEA assistant special agent in charge in Jacksonville, says agents will never call to tell someone theyre under investigation. We would go in person, identify ourselves as a DEA agent and then have a conversation with that person.Dubet said that two weeks ago, a scammer called his cellphone pretending to be a DEA agent and told him:The DEA was looking for me. There was a warrant for my arrest and I needed to call back a number, Dubet said. At DEA headquarters in South Florida, Ann-Judith Lambert is the DEA public information officer for all of Florida.
‘Operation Bad Employee’ cracks down on prescription drug ring
Rader was the 11th member of the drug distribution ring to be convicted and sentenced in federal court. After the prescription drugs left the pharmacy, according to investigators, they were then sold on the streets of both Duval and Nassau counties. Full Screen 1 / 5 Pharmacy surveillanceNassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper said when they joined “Operation Bad Employee,” they learned that one of the recruiters for the drug distribution operation lived and operated out of Nassau County. Leeper went on to say “Operation Bad Employee” may have put a dent in the ongoing opioid problem in Nassau County. Although “Operation Bad Employee” began in 2016, it is still an ongoing investigation, which means there could be more arrests.
Guns, drugs, stolen property seized in federal raid on Westside
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Guns, drugs and stolen property were all seized in a federal raid this week on Jacksonville’s Westside. The raid was part of a six-month sting that Drug Enforcement Administration agents dubbed “Operation Python,” in which millions of dollars’ worth of illegal drugs have been taken off the streets. At 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, DEA agents served a search warrant at the Westside home. Full Screen 1 / 13 Operation PythonTuesday’s raid was part of the national DEA investigation called Operation Python. Though Operation Python officially ended Wednesday afternoon, Dubet told News4Jax that he believes Miller’s arrest will lead to identifying more suspects locally.
Vaping devices, cartridges now accepted during Drug Take Back Day
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - For the 18th annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day to be held on Saturday, vaping devices and cartridges were added to the items that may be dropped off for safe disposal. By doing so, they will help prevent prescription drug abuse and theft. For the first time, DEA will accept vaping devices and cartridges at any of its drop off locations, although the DEA cannot accept devices containing lithium ion batteries. Concerns have been raised across the United States over illnesses and deaths caused by vaping and the high youth vaping initiation rates. For more information about the harmful effects of youth vaping visit: justthinktwice.gov/facts/vaping-what-you-should-know.
Angels official provided Tyler Skaggs with drugs
Tyler Skaggs #45 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim delivers a pitch in the first inning during a MLB game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on June 18, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (CNN) - A top public relations official with the Los Angeles Angels provided oxycodone to Tyler Skaggs, and abused the drug with him before the pitcher died earlier this year, the employee's attorney told CNN on Saturday. ESPN reported that Eric Kay, the Angels' director of communications, also gave the DEA the names of five other players who he believed were using opiates while with the Angels team. "The Angels maintain a strict, zero tolerance policy regarding the illicit use of drugs for both players and staff," he said. Skaggs family attorney Rusty Hardin said the family appreciates the work that law enforcement is doing.
FDA, DEA crack down on more websites illegally selling opioids
These warning letters come just months after the FDA issued a similar series of warnings to other opioid-selling website operators. The online networks that received the new warning letters, sent earlier this month, are Divyata, Euphoria Healthcare Pvt Ltd., JCM Dropship and Meds4U. The letters call for the website operators to immediately stop illegally selling the opioids to consumers in the United States. We remain committed to using all available regulatory and enforcement tools to stop the illicit flow of opioids online." Warning letters were also sent to dozens of websites last year on two separate occasions.
In one Ohio county, 10 people died of overdoses within 26 hours
WJLA via CNNCOLUMBUS, Ohio - One Ohio county had an "unusually high number" of overdose deaths in a little over a day, the county's coroner said. "As of about 10 am this morning we have had 10 people die of overdoses in about 26 hours," Franklin County Coroner Dr. Anahi Ortiz said on Facebook Sunday. The last peak of overdoses that the coroner's office posted about was in August 12, when six people died in less than 24 hours. That same year, the Drug Enforcement Administration issued a national alert that said "drug incidents and overdoses related to fentanyl are occurring at an alarming rate." In 2017, Franklin County set up a 3-year Opiate Action Plan to combat the opiate epidemic in the state.
'Operation Cazador' leads to Westside raid, seizure of $10M in heroin
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Across Florida, Drug Enforcement Administration agents are carrying out drug stings, and the operation led agents to Jacksonville's Westside. At 10:38 a.m. Thursday, Jacksonville police and federal agents moved into position to conduct a raid at the home, which was targeted in Operation Cazador. Within minutes, 31-year-old Thomas Renckley was led out of the home in handcuffs. Just Prior to the raid, operation Cazador led to the seizure of 15-kilos of bricked heroin at an undisclosed location somewhere else in Jacksonville. "Thousands of people are saved because they didn't go to this heroin, possibly overdose on the heroin and die from it," Dubet said.
Federal agents warn of counterfeit Adderall sold online
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The drug Adderall is used by people with attention deficit hyperactive disorder, or ADHD, as well as people who have narcolepsy. Now, the Drug Enforcement Administration is warning people about counterfeit Adderall sold online. The warning comes after agents recently seized counterfeit Adderall pills that were destined for Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia. DEA Special Agent Mike Dubet says counterfeit Adderall sold online is being laced with methamphetamines. Within the last year and a half, the DEA has closed in on six counterfeit Adderall operations nationwide.
Federal agents work to plug opioid drug pipeline
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – From local police to state troopers and federal agents, ending the opioid epidemic takes a lot of players. The top authority is the Drug Enforcement Administration, which is actively working to stop drugs at the border and to end both the supply and demand in Northeast Florida. A DEA agent told News4Jax that much of the heroin is coming from Colombia and the fentanyl from China. He said heroin laced with fentanyl is the most dangerous drug DEA agents deal with. The drugs are so toxic, agents investigating drug scenes now have to wear airtight hazmat suits -- two of them -- with an oxygen tank to help them breathe.